ATLANTA — Buoyed by increased consumer confidence, as well as color and textured-fabric trends, Southeast retailers at the Atlanta Apparel Market, held Oct. 16 to 20, said they were upbeat about the balance of fall selling and the upcoming spring season.
Julie Routenberg, owner of Potpourri in Atlanta, who is increasing her spring open-to-buy 5 to 10 percent, said, “I like what I’ve seen and I like what I’ve bought.”
Thomas Whitten, owner of Whitten’s Town and Country Clothes in Albertville, Ala., said his sales this fall are up 10 to 20 percent.
“Consumer confidence is up and the looks are good,” Whitten said. “The consumer is ready to buy.”
Spring trends are focused on fabrics, especially textured goods, said Kaye Davis, vice president of fashion at AmericasMart, which operates the show. Textured fabrics include nylon mesh, sheers, eyelets, lace, crochet and perforated open weaves. Bright colors, including saturated greens, blues, pinks, orange and yellow, are in prints and patterns, while muted colors, such as butter, mint, off-white, violet and lavender, dominate solids.
Other trends are high-low tops, dresses in long and short lengths, shorts, cropped tops and skinny pants. Shoulder pads are back, but in structured looks for fall and as a soft shoulder for spring.
Denim trends are colored, waxed, printed and metallic, said Routenberg, adding, “Denim business is down all over the country, so denim makers had to reinvent themselves.”
“Traffic was brisk and order writing was very strong [at the show],” said Mary Sullivan Harper, senior vice president of apparel leasing at AmericasMart. “The majority of showrooms had expended a lot of energy in advance on appointments and they had additional business from walk-bys.”
AmericasMart launched a digital look book for buyers and also announced several showroom openings, expansions and renovations. New showrooms include Place, and expansions include Amy J. Hill, while Leib Associates renovated its showroom to an upscale design.
The space for temporaries is 25 percent larger than the October 2013 show, said Caron Stover, managing director of temporary exhibits. A newcomer to the Atlanta market in temporaries was Kristi Yamaguchi’s active lifestyle line.
Fran Magnus, buyer for A Nose for Clothes, based in Miami with four stores in south Florida and one in Norcross, Ga., focused on buying boxy, easy tops and high-low tops; embroidery, lace, sheer and mesh in textured fabrics; bohemian looks and ethnic prints; florals; palazzo and jogger pants, jumpsuits and dimensional prints. In colors, she booked orange, coral, turquoise and neutrals for spring, and blues and navy for cruise and resort. Her brand buys included Sanctuary, Love Sam and Bailey 44.
Julie Lansky, buyer for Lansky Brothers, which has five stores in Memphis, filled in on knit tops and lightweight sweaters for fall. She said, “People are spending money and buying new things.”
For spring, Lansky bought leggings, anorak jackets, dresses with lace or crochet, high-low tops and shorts. “People are wearing more shorts as denim gets softer,” she said.
Routenberg booked sweaters and jackets, skinny and narrow pants, leather or nylon mesh fabrics, as well as sheers, high-low tunic tops, floral prints, lace and colorblocking in tops.
“I’m very pleased with sales this past season and fall is running a little increase,” she said.
Whitten bought dresses from Joseph Ribkoff and Frank Lyman Design, tops from Foxcroft, pants from Lisette, knits and lightweight sweaters, linen in tops, dresses and skirts from Fridaze, and apparel from Elliott Lauren.
“Last fall, we didn’t find everything we looked for,” said Whitten. “Now I’m finding everything I want for every age.”